Archive for June, 2007

A Message from the Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology (NCSPP)

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

August Action

To Stop APA’s Participation in Unlawful Military Interrogations

We are writing to invite you to join us in righting a dreadful wrong. You may not be aware that the American Psychological Association has, for the last few years, taken a stance on participation of psychologists in military interrogations that we feel we must stand up and oppose – immediately.

It is now clear that psychologists and psychology were directly and officially responsible for the development and use of techniques defined by the ICRC as “tantamount to torture.” A recently declassified August 2006 report by the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General confirms that psychologists trained and consulted to Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (BSCT) in methods of psychological torture to be used in interrogations at Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have both taken ethical positions by declaring that there is no legitimate role for its members in consulting to the U.S. military in unlawful detention sites such as Guantanamo,. Yet, astonishingly, the American Psychological Association alone has held fast to what we see as an unacceptable stance, that psychologists may participate in assisting with interrogations, even when those interrogations violate international law. True, the APA has condemned torture, but it has openly and deliberately promoted the use of psychologists at these detention facilities with the justification that psychologists’ presence leads to “ethical interrogations.” We strongly believe there is no such thing as an ethical interrogation in the context of facilities operating outside the bounds of international law.

So what can we do? Many APA members have tried over recent years to change APA policy on this issue, but to no avail. Some of us are withholding our dues in protest. Right now we have a chance to mobilize our community to bring the protest to APA’s door. From August 17-20, 2007. the 150,000 member APA will be holding its annual convention in San Francisco, and our ad hoc group, Psychologists for an Ethical APA, is planning protest activities both inside and outside the convention sites in order to put pressure on APA to end its participation in human rights violations and to return to an unequivocal commitment to our first and foremost ethical principle: Do No Harm.

Our plan is as follows: We will have volunteers distributing leaflets and carrying banners and placards at the three convention sites – SF Hilton, Marriott SF, and Moscone Center, South and West – for as many hours as possible during the four days of meetings. Most importantly, we will be holding a rally outside the South Entrance to the Moscone Center on Saturday, Aug. 18, from noon to 1 or 1:30, and are beginning to line up speakers and performers for that event.

What can you do to help?:
1. Join us in co-sponsoring the rally
2. Come to the rally, and bring friends, families, and colleagues.
3. Join in the leafleting and informational protest at the convention sites during the four days of the convention.
4. Make a donation.
5. Help us in any other way you would like; we welcome your thoughts.

If you would like to learn more about APA’s postion on military interrogations,, we suggest visiting the website You can also contact Ruth Fallenbaum at if you want to participate or just want to know more about what we are doing and why we are doing it. To make a donation, write a check to “Psychologists for an Ethical APA,” and send to Ruth Fallenbaum or Rachael Peltz, 3120 Telegraph Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA 94705.

Psychologists for an Ethical APA
Neil Altman, Ph.D.
Jeanne Wolff Bernstein, Ph.D.
Ghislaine Boulanger, Ph.D.
Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D
Ruth Fallenbaum, Ph.D.
Rachael Peltz, Ph.D.
Tom Rosbrow, Ph.D.
Alice Shaw, Ph.D.

Partial list of co-sponsors:
Robert J. Lifton
American Friends Service Committee-SF
California Physicians Alliance
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Berkeley
Survivors International, San Francisco
Institute for Labor and Mental Health, Oakland
Institute for Redress and Recovery
Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology
Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California
Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

Copyright 2007, Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology<>. All rights reserved.

Book Review: Psychiatry and the Cinema by Krin and Glen Gabbard

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

(Click here to read) my review of the book Psychiatry and the Cinema (1994) By Krin Gabbard and Glen O. Gabbard. Chicago University of Chicago Press, 1989. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 42:261-264.

Charles Fisher Interview by Arnold Richards Part I: From Birth to Adolescence

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

My interviews with Charles Fisher, M.D. were conducted in 1985 for the Oral History Project of the A.A. Brill Library of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The interview is deposited in the Archives and Special Collections of the A.A. Brill Library.

Introduction to Charles Fisher oral history

We are delighted to see this history in print. Many of the stories here are family myths that we remember from our childhoods and that seemed then, as they do now, utterly fantastic. Chuck’s story is the stuff of Victorian novels–suicide mother, depressed and confessional father, bewildering and lonely childhood in an orphan home. During his long and arduous education, mostly at the University of Chicago, he barely supported himself as a stenographer. In his telling of the story, it is always bleak winter in Chicago. The wind off Lake Michigan lashed his fragile body (he weighed 110 pounds) and whipped his tears back towards his ears, as he shivered in his threadbare coat. Due to the Jewish quota system, he was denied entry into medical school and fortuitously found his way into a Ph.D. program in neurobiology, a detour which granted him a Ph.D., gained him entry into medical school, and led him to a major scientific discovery. Where his drive and direction came from remains mysterious. The story of his mother’s bad dream determining his life’s work is a lovely piece of retrospective fantasy but hardly adequate to explain a long and varied scientific career. That career is detailed here in fascinating detail. But for us, the beauty of the history is the glimpse it provides of the lost and lone little boy before he finds himself.

Carla Miner
Barbara Fisher
June, 2007

Click here to read

The Case of the Disappearing Profession by Gerald J. Gargiulo, Ph.D.

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Click here to read: The Case of the Disappearing Profession by Gerald J.  Gargiulo, Ph.D.

Father’s Day by Arnold Richards

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Click Here to Read:  Father’s Day by Arnold Richards.

The Nature of Therapeutic Action in “Tsotsi”

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

A teenage leader of a criminal gang steals a car that has a baby in the back seat. In caring for the baby, he develops compassion and comes to terms with his traumatic childhood. That is the basic plotline for Tsotsi, the South African film, based on an Athol Fugard novel, that won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2005. It sounds like a simple story of learned empathy, but it is much more complex. (more…)

Two Poems by Eugene Mahon

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

Click here to read about Eugene Mahon

Freud 1939

                                        “Talking about the past is like a cat’s trying            
                                         to explain climbing down a ladder”
                                         Robert Lowell  letter 3.15.58

 With half a mouth
In his final years,
           Sun and retina
           Aligned with tilted
           Lightning and silent
           Thunder of thoughts
           Flashing within,
           Pen on paper
           Bearing witness
           As jack-boots
           On the cobbles
           And history
           Held words by the throat,
           The voice poured
           Out of the cracked vessel
           Like a prophet’s curse:
           “Death is not inside you
           ‘til you stare it down.
            The dream is only yours
            When you awaken.”
            Eugene Mahon  Sept. 2005  

The Shifting Sands of Gender – October 23, 2007

Friday, June 15th, 2007


OCTOBER 23, 2007





Discussant: Theodore Shapiro, M.D.

8:15 PM at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute/Society

wine and buffet at 7:15 PM

Theodor Reik: Memories of A Young Psychoanalyst by Gerald J. Gargiulo, PhD

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

Click here to read: Theodor Reik: Memories of A Young Psychoanalyst by Gerald J. Gargiulo, PhD.

Neurobiology: Are we allowing it to lead psychoanalysis astray? By Elio Frattaroli

Friday, June 8th, 2007

Neurobiology:  Is it Leading Psychoanalysiis Astray?  (Stumlated by the Charlie Rose show on pychoanalysis with Kandel, Beck, Roose, and Fonagy)

(For info on Elio Frattaroli and Elio Frattaroli’s Book Healing the Soul in the Age of Brain see

I believe that psychoanalysis today is suffering from a group Stockholm syndrome in which we have adopted the ideology of the cultural hijackers who are threatening to destroy us.  Who are these cultural hijackers? The proponents of quick-fix medical   model psychiatry, the proponents of quick-fix symptom-oriented short-term CBT, and the proponents of evidence-based practice who believe that the  only valid evidence comes from an MRI or a statistical outcome study.

Feder’s “Gustav Mahler: A Life in Crisis” Reviewed By Nass

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Gustav Mahler: A Life in Crisis by Stuart Feder
New Haven:Yale University Press, 2004. pp. viii+353.

Reviewed by Martin L. Nass, Ph.D. Clinical Professor of Psychology, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; Faculty, Training and Supervisory Analyst, New York Freudian Society; Professor Emeritus, Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

Stuart Feder, a man who has engaged in two successful careers, that of psychoanalyst and music scholar, has written a most readable and gripping biography of Gustav Mahler. He has portrayed Mahler in a most human light with all of his gifts, conflicts and struggles. In so doing, he has created a work that at times reads like a fascinating work of fiction. The book is a major contribution to Mahler studies and it is a significant addition to the field of psychoanalytic biography.

The book is subtitled, “A Life in Crisis” and deals with Mahler’s lifelong depression, mourning and preoccupation with death. In fact, to bring this into sharp focus, Feder begins the book with a quotation from Freud, (as quoted by Marie Bonaparte) regarding his experience around Mahler’s consultation with him in Holland. Mahler’s ambivalence about visiting Freud is expressed with good humor and forms a fulcrum around Mahler’s unhappiness, particularly in his last years. (Mahler died the year following his consultation with Freud). Feder skillfully reconstructs the essence of the consultation and describes it with compassion and good clinical understanding. He uses unpublished material from the diary of Marie Bonaparte to document Freud’s account of the meeting.


Arnold Richards’s Review of Relational Psychoanalysis, Vol. 2: Innovation and Expansion edited by Aron and Harris

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Click to Read: Arnold Richards’s Review of Relational Psychoanalysis: Volume 2. Innovation and Expansion. Relational Psychoanalysis Book Series, Vol. 28. Edited by Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 2005, 512 pp., $49.95. and published in Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (2006) 44:413-422. © Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. It is posted here by permission.